The word Asia originated from the Greek word "Asia", first attributed to Herodotus (about 440 BC) in reference to Anatolia or, for the purposes of describing the Persian Wars, to the Persian Empire, in contrast to Greece and Egypt.
     
 
   
 
Makha Bucha (or Māgha Pūjā) Day is celebrated on the full moon day in the third month of the Buddhist lunar calendar. The day is marked in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The date varied from year to year but falls usually in February or early March. It is a day of veneration, marking the day nine months after Buddha's enlightenment when over 1000 of his ordained followers spontaneously gathered to hear Him give a sermon. It was during this time that the basic tenants of the monastic order.
The day is celebrated with candle light processions three times clockwise around the temple, usually after sunset. It is also a day when many people give alms including instant or canned foods or necessities such as robes, incense and candles to the monks
 
   
 
 

Full moon days have always been important to ascetics, even before the birth of Buddhism. They would cease worldly pursuits and engage themselves in religious activities. The practice was adopted by Buddha and the Poya tradition continues today, with 12 Poya holidays in the Buddhist calendar.

     
 
 
 
Poson Poya Day is celebrated annually on the full moon day in June (which falls on June 15th this year). The occasion celebrates the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC and holds great historic and religious significance. It commemorates the occasion when Arahat Mahinda Thera, son of the Indian Emperor Asoka, converted King Devanampiya Tissa to Buddhism. While the festival is celebrated island-wide, large crowds of pilgrims flock to Mihintale (the ancient monastic complex where Mahinda preached the first sermon) and the ancient capital of Anuradhapura.  It is a time of mass religious observances and quiet contemplation, but also sees much decoration with hand-made paper lanterns and illuminations, as well as pandals depicting various events in Buddha’s life or previous births.
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Gudiparan bazi (kite flying) was a common hobby of many Afghans throughout Afghanistan. It was a form of sport that many took to the status of art. From the designs and sizes of kites to the making of unbreakable tar (wire), for many this became a matter of honor to compete in who's who among the best kite fighters in their neigborhood.  This addicting sport absorbed many young Afghans, even during the war.

The Unit
To have an operational unit to fly a Kite "officially", it was accepted that it would take 2 persons. One to actually fly the kite (leader) and the other to keep the charkha (an intricately designed wooden drum penetrated longitudinally by a stick to keep the wire wound around it and for ease of recovering the wire back) Undeservedly many times the charkha gir would get the blame for not holding the wire correctly should the unit lose the kite fight.
 
The Kite
The kites, or Gudiparan (literally meaning flying doll) as it's called in Afghanistan, came in different sizes - from smallest which was only about 10-12 inches in diameter to largest which was human size - Mahi gec, nim takhtai, se parcha, panj parcha, shesh parcha and the famous humongous haft parcha or simply "haft". The shape was mostly conserved throughout the family of Kites. They were all made of thin paper and the skeleton supported by bamboo wood, investing on its malleability and flexibility.

The Fight (Jang)
In order to have a kite fight, 2 kites had to be airborne simultaneously at a close proximity. As soon as the wire of these two kites contacted each other, the fight had began. The fight would last from a split second to up to 1/2 hour, depending on wind, the difference in quality of tar between the two parties and other undetermined factors. Generally the one with most experience and patience win the fight, given the same quality of the tar, kite and charkha gir. The general concept was to release wire, and avoid pulling when in a kite fight. The faster you release the more likely one would win the fight. This theory is based on a complex dynamic relationship of the wires while in the air, which held true for the most part. Since larger kites had greater pull, greater release of wire per second was anticipated and thus greater chance of winning with a larger kite. However this theory had it's limitations - larger kites have been known to lose to much smaller kites. The quality of tar was also an important factor in determining who was to go home with a kite. Some would preach that the smoother the wire, the better it would cut the opponent, as it would be more fluid during the fight. Further, the wire with more shisha (sharper) would get stuck easily and get cut. However, proponents would argue that sharper wire would serve better specially during "kashak" (a fight where one of the parties go on offense and pull very hard under the opponent - this fight would last no more than a second usually) Though there are no randomized trial research to determine which method served best, somewhere in between is probably where one wants to be.

The Sharti
Most Kocha's (A block of street) had their own Sharti (Kite fight Champion). Sharti title was given to the one who had the impeccable record of not losing a kite fight. Shartis generally had a good grasp of what they should do in a particular kite fight to win, or at least not lose. They also had a style and elegance that would capture audience throughout the neighborhood. However, even sharti's would occasionally lose, and this was generally a big deal to many kochagis (neigborhood).
 
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